The BU Innovator of the Year Award recognizes an individual who translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind.

Nominations are due May 22, 2017

The BU Innovator of the Year is awarded to one outstanding BU faculty member, who in the past year has:

  1. Conducted peer recognized world-class research; and
  2. Translated this research by developing IP protected product(s) or process(es) of significant value to society that were adopted for practical use or have a high probability of being adopted.

Make a Nomination

The BU Innovator of the Year Award highlights the critical importance of translational research at Boston University. The award recognizes an entrepreneurial faculty member and the potential for commercialization and wider adoption of his/her inventions.

The Innovator of the Year Award is presented annually at the Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll event taking place on July 11, 2017.

The Innovator of the Year Award nomination process is open to faculty and staff across campuses – we’re excited to hear your input!

  • Eligible nominees are full-time faculty on the tenure, research, and clinical tracks who have made substantial progress towards commercializing their innovations.
  • We seek to recognize work developed or completed at BU that has come into existence relatively recently; successful innovations will be currently on sale, close to market, on the path to development.
  • All disciplines and fields, as well as social, business, and teaching model innovations, are welcome.
  • The work submitted for consideration does not need to be disclosed to Technology Development.
  • Closely-collaborating teams may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.
  • Faculty, staff, and students may submit nominations. Self-nominations are allowed.

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • The “BU Story” – was the technology or innovation developed or created while at BU? Preference will be given to technologies or innovations developed from work carried out at BU.
  • Impact – How many people will the technology or innovation affect? To what degree? How do you measure this impact?

Nominations should be thorough but concise. Submissions will be reviewed by a faculty committee of previous Innovators of the Year. Please keep in mind that the reviewers may not be familiar with your area of expertise and descriptions should be written with this consideration in mind. Descriptions should clearly articulate the commercial value of the technology or innovation.

Please use our online form to submit your nominations. The following components are required:

  • List of patents filed, if any;
  • Brief (500 word or 3,000 character) description of work commercialized or currently in the process of commercialization, including:
    • Summary of technology or innovation;
    • Status of product’s dissemination, reach, or market penetration;
    • Impact of product or discovery on society.
  • Stage of commercialization (proof of concept, under license, or currently being sold).

The deadline to submit nominations is May 22, 2017.

Innovator of the Year

Boston University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and founder of Beta Bionics, Ed Damiano won Boston University’s Innovator of the Year Award. This annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting- edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Damiano has created an artificial, or bionic pancreas that manages blood sugar levels and delivers doses of insulin.  The invention, the iLet, is designed for people with Type 1 diabetes.  His reason for taking on this project was his son, David, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11 moths old.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters presented Damiano with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” – BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Ed’s determination and his systematic and persistent work to achieve this goal has been incredibly impressive,” says Gloria Waters.  “He has worked tirelessly, and his success in raising funds from a wide range of sources, carrying out the science, and developing the technology in a very short period of time has been nothing but remarkable.”

Boston University Professor of Medicine Dr. David J. Salant, MD won Boston University’s Innovator of the Year Award. This annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting- edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Salant has endeavored to understand the pathogenesis of glomerular diseases by careful and in-depth analysis of experimental models, leading to paradigm shifting observations. The primary focus of his laboratory is on the immune basis of glomerular diseases with particular regard to the humoral mechanisms of glomerular cell injury.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters presented Dr. Salant with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” – BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Dr. Salant’s research using experimental models of immunological glomerular diseases and autoimmunity have led to a deeper understanding of the immunopathogenetic mechanics of injury,” said Dr. Waters. “His research has yielded ground-breaking results by identifying PLA2R as the target antigen in human membranous nephropathy.”

Boston University Computer Science Professor Mark Crovella won Boston University’s 2014 Innovator of the Year award. The annual award recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Professor Crovella is Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Boston University, where he has been since 1994. He also currently serves as Chief Scientist of Guavus, Inc., a venture-backed company he co-founded with his graduate student. Professor Crovella was also a co-founder of Commonwealth Networks, now part of Network Appliance.

BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research of Boston University Gloria Waters presented Crovella with this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs and Rock & Roll” — BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Professor Crovella is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to two start-up companies,” said Waters. “His accomplishments in the past year include ten peer-reviewed papers published, five patent filings and $30.0 million invested in BU-spinoff Guavus.”

Press Release

Boston University School of Engineering Professor Theodore (Ted) Moustakas has won the university’s 2013 Innovator of the Year award which recognizes a BU faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

Considered the co-inventor of the blue LED, Ted Moustakas’ lab is focused on innovative semiconductors for photonics and other applications. With this technology, Moustakas’ inventions have been widely deployed in LEDs and Moustakas has founded one venture-backed company, RayVio Corp.

BU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison presented this year’s Innovator of the Year award at Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll — BU’s annual networking event for individuals involved in University Technology Transfer in the Boston area.

“Professor Moustakas is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose inventions have been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufacturers of blue LEDs and lasers (Cree and Philips-LumiLeds in United States and Nichia in Japan),” said Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include nine peer-reviewed papers published, five patent filings and $4.0 million invested in BU spinoff RayVio.”

Press Release

Boston University School of Engineering Prof. James Collins, co-director of the BU Center for Biodynamics and considered the father of synthetic biology, today was awarded the university’s 2012 Innovator of the Year award which recognizes a faculty member whose cutting-edge research and ideas lead to the formation of companies that benefit society at large.

BU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison presented this year’s Innovator of the Year award at “Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll” event — BU’s annual networking party for Boston area inventors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, tech-industry professionals and academic scientists involved in technology transfer.

“Professor Collins is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of Sample6 Technologies, a start-up company intent on using engineered bacteriaphage for detecting harmful bacteria in the food and healthcare industry,” said Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include 10 peer-reviewed papers published, four invention disclosures, five patent filings, $2.3 million in research funding and $5.6 million invested in Sample6.”

Press Release

Dr. Avrum Spira is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Laboratory Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Bioinformatics at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“Professor Spira is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of Allegro Diagnostics, a startup company intent on producing beneficial molecular diagnostics for detecting lung cancer,” said Morrison. “His accomplishments in the past year include 14 peer-reviewed papers published, one invention disclosure, two patent filings, over $3.5 million in NIH funding and $8.9 million invested in Allegro Diagnostics.” -Jean Morrison, Provost of Boston University

Avrum Spira serves as Director of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Program at the Boston University School of Medicine’s Pulmonary Center. He is an attending physician at the Medical Intensive Care Unit and with the Pulmonary/Critical Care Interventional service at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Spira’s laboratory research interests focus on applying high-throughput genomic and bioinformatic tools to the translational study of lung cancer and emphysema. He is funded as a Principal Investigator through the NIH and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Dr. Spira received his medical degree from McGill University and did his internship and residency at the University of Toronto. He did his fellowship with Boston University. Dr. Spira received a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from the College of Engineering at Boston University. (Source)

Mark W. Grinstaff is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at Boston University and a College of Engineering Distinguished Faculty Fellow.

“Professor Grinstaff is an entrepreneurial scientist, whose practical approach to science has led to the formation of three companies producing beneficial products,” said BU President Robert Brown, who presented the award. “His accomplishments in the past year include 15 peer-reviewed papers published, two invention disclosures, a patent filing, and more than $1 million invested in Flex Biomedical.” -Robert A. Brown, President of Boston University

Mark received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois under the mentorship of Professor Kenneth S. Suslick and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology with Professor Harry B. Gray. Mark’s awards include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts and given more than 200 oral presentations. His students and fellows have presented more than 80 talks and 225 posters. He is co-founder of three companies that are commercializing his ideas and has four medical products being used in the clinic. His current research activities include new macromolecule and amphiphile syntheses, self-assembly chemistry, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. (Visit Mark’s profile.)

Innovator of the Year Nomination Form